As to the variety of Italian diplomas and awards, there is one which is decidedly worth consideration, especially owing to the perseverance necessary of any avid DXer intent on achieving it, particularly from another continent. We’re talking about the WAIP, which stands for “Worked All Italian Provinces.”
This award is managed by the League of Italian Radio Amateurs and more specifically by Award Manager IK2RLS, Saverio Amore, who works with the HF version of the WAIP Award, under the authority of the National Manager of the League, I2MQP. It should be noted that for purposes of discussion, we are referring to the HF version of the award only, which is the only one truly attainable by the non-European DXer.
The WAIP is issued to radio amateurs and SWLs from around the world who have worked (in the case of SWLs who have listened to QSOs) stations located throughout the country, in their various provinces. How many? The answer is simple: non-Italian participants need to connect with (or listen to) 60 different provinces. All bands from 100 Hz to 30 Mhz (also including the WARC bands) may be utilized, subject to national band plans and the IARU.
A clarification is necessary as to the modes of operation: the award is available in “mixed” categories (including all the following), “Phone” (voice mode), “CW” (telegraphy), “Digital” (including RTTY) and “SWL.” Once chosen, the mode can not be changed. Thus, for example, if I started working on the WAIP with QSOs generated on phone and were then to decide to add contacts on CW, then I’d have to procede, under new conditions, with a request for a second award, starting from zero, while that for Phone would continue as it was. In the event that an application be made without indication of a category, it will be considered “Mixed.”
How to keep track of the QSOs and monitor your progress towards the award? WAIP is automatically tracked by some various logging software (like BBLogger for example, developed by IK2VIW and IK2UVR from the League of Italian Radio Amateurs from Busto Arsizio (north of Milan). However, it’s good to know that a station on Italian soil may be contacted multiple times provided that it’s located in different provinces (in the case of occasional, temporary or permanent relocation). A foreign operator in Italy (operating with his own callsign/P or with an Italian callsign issued by the appropriate Ministry) counts as would an Italian operator (relative to the province in which he’s located), provided that operation has been in accordance with rules and regulations in force in Italy.
It’s equally important to mention that given the creation of new provinces in recent years, an updated list of the same is published on the League of Italian Radio Amateurs’ website. According to the latest revision in effect (August 2009), there are, in total, 110. The four Sardinian provinces instituted in 2004, Olbia-Tempio (OT), Ogliastra (OG), Medio Campidano (MD) and Carbonia-Iglesias (CI), are credited for QSOs made from 8 May 2005, while three others – Monza and Brianza (MB), Fermo (FM), Barletta-Andria-Trani (BT) valid starting June 16, 2004. In addition, the League of Italian Radio Amateurs’ website is available to resolve any questions; a map of Sardinia which outlines the province of each municipality.
At the League’s site it’s also important to become familiar with other prescribed aspects of the award including the two WAIP forms which need to be addressed. The first (.doc, .odt and .pdf) must be populated with personal data, while the second (.doc, .odt and .pdf) shows the QSOs to be credited. It is not necessary to send in the original QSLs, but the Award Manager reserves the right to ask for visual confirmation, in whole or in part. The diploma has a cost of 5 Euros (7 Dollars or 10 IRCs, new edition, for foreign applicants), to cover shipping and handling.
Let’s conclude with some brief statistics dating back to the award’s inception (beginning in the 80s). With various incarnations, we have issued, up to and including today, approximately 1750 HF awards. Saverio, the Award Manager, when contacted in the light of publication of this article, made the point, “I’m working on a new revision of the rules, with some significant changes; we hope to implement them as soon as possible. However, the new rules will be fully compatible with the old ones; for anybody who has applied recently, the acquired results would be grandfathered into the new award.”
In conclusion, the ingredients for an interesting and rewarding experience are at your fingertips. Not withstanding, many people would suggest that Italy is a most beautiful country; traversing it on HF will undoubtedly prove to be a rewarding experience. So, why not start working stations with callsigns beginning with the letter I?